Building a strong, wide base is one of the most important fundamentals for any good defensive lineman. Without good leverage, it doesn’t
matter how strong or fast your lineman are – they’ll be quickly and easily dealt with by the offensive line. That’s why one of the first defensive line drills we start with stress a low, wide stance.
If you’ve got a metal chute, like in this diagram, great, but if not, you can simply hold a bat or golf club outstretched, and force the players to run underneath that.
But the idea here is to get the player low in stance, with either chute, or your MacGyver’d obstacle out in front of them. Get a second coach to help you, and have them give the hike command. Remember though, it’s much better for lineman to practice coming out of stance on a visual command, rather than something oral. This will teach them to keep their eyes on the football, and ignore what the quarterback is saying.
On the hike, their goal is to explode out of stance, but to stay below the obstacle for their first two steps. A players first instinct will be to straighten up, before exploding forward, and they will lose quite a bit of power in doing so.
Often times players will have a similar problem when it comes to keeping a wide base. They’ll start off in a great stance, but after taking their first two steps, their feet will be well inside shoulder width, leaving them off-balance and vulnerable to any push in another direction.
Here we put a bag down on the ground, and have a player get in stance with the bag in between their legs. Then we have a coach stand in front with a blocking pad, and on a (visual) command again, they will explode out of the stance; focusing on staying low, and making sure their feet don’t touch the bag.
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